For more than 20 years, Nikeesia and Larry Ranson have been assisting others in the care of their children, while raising their own three biological sons. So, it was no surprise to friends and family when they decided to become foster parents through Azleway in Tyler. However, this couple says their journey to adoption was not planned, but rather truly ordained by God.
“Bringing these seven into our life was truly His placement, and it’s been a blessing for us and a blessing for them,” said Nikeesia, who goes by Nikki.
Nikki and Larry initially opened their home to three foster children in October 2012. They would quickly learn that those three brothers had more siblings, two more brothers and two sisters. They ranged in age from 4 to 17 years old. Seeing the unrest of not being together, this caring couple eventually brought all seven under one roof.
“I’m glad that we were chosen, and I’m glad that we’ve been given the strength and the resolve and everything else that’s been needed to grow these children,” Larry said.
As the children ran and played at The Children’s Park in Tyler, it was evident these siblings enjoy being together and are grateful for the gift of family.
“Since the day they took me in I knew they would be there for me,” said Tyriq, 17.
“I love my mom and dad,” added 6-year-old JaTara.
The Ranson family adopted all seven siblings in August 2015. The changes that have happened since are also nothing short of a miracle. Behavior problems, health issues and separation anxiety are now all gone.
Tyriq said, “It was a life-changing experience. The transition from where I was to where I am now has been a long ride.”
Tyriq is the oldest, and being separated was perhaps hardest on him. With no father around, he had taken on the role himself.
“I prayed for everybody to be together and that everybody was safe and stable. Those prayers have now been answered, and I can be a teenager again,” he said.
Aamir is the middle child. He is 9 years old.
“It’s a happy family, and I run around and play,” he said, with a big smile. “My mom and dad take me to fun stuff and they give me yummy food.”
Jeffrey is the youngest. He is just 4 years old, but makes up for it in personality.
“They are nice and they let us eat good stuff, even pie!” he shouted.
Looking back, Nikki and Larry are thankful they were open to an unplanned adoption.
“I would encourage anyone that has an opportunity to be used,” Nikki said. “I mean, everyone cannot foster and everyone cannot adopt, but everyone can do something.”
Larry added, “God has given us a heart of benevolence, I guess, and given me patience beyond what I ever would have imagined. And it’s been a ministry for us as well.”
They call it divine intervention. The children call it a family they desperately needed together.
“They are my parents!” Tyriq proclaimed. “They look over me. They make sure food is in my stomach and clothes on my back. I love them to death!”
For Larry and Nikki, the days are full, as well as every bed in their house, and now their hearts are full as well.
“It’s been wonderful. As much as we give to them they give to us,” Larry said.
“None of us are perfect, but together we are a perfect 10,” Nikki added.
These 10 children are all knit together and guided by loving parents who trusted God’s ordained assignment for their family.
With a desire to carry on God’s ministry of helping children, the Ransons started a nonprofit organization in 2014 called SWAGG, which stands for Serenity, Wisdom, Agility, Grace and Guidance. It assists more than 200 foster and homeless children a month with basic daily needs. For more information, go to SWAGGPrograms.com.
To learn more about the Ranson family, join Gillian Sheridan for her “Children are a Gift” report, Tuesday night on CBS19 News at 6 and Wednesday on CBS19 This Morning. To get information on becoming foster or adoptive parents, call 903-533-4242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.